Gillian Roach is this year’s winner of the NEW VOICES – Emerging Poets Competition.

Post-graduate student of the Masters in Creative Writing, AUT. Roach is an Auckland poet and fiction writer who recently completed the Masters In Creative Writing course at AUT. She studied English Literature and Language at Victoria University and has a diploma in journalism.

Her poem A boy says he has no say was described by this year’s judge Elizabeth Morton as, “a delicate poem, with an enviable lightness of touch. The movement from one stanza to the next is gentle‚ and the suburban scenes, with hedges and lemon tree‚ are delightfully familiar. But this is also a poem with grit and a sadness ostensible if you rub away at the props. The deeper unfoldings are not explicit‚ but it is clear there is a turn of darkness here – ‘disappointment’‚ the neighbours ‘gathered in mourning’ and the ‘dead duck head down in murky summer’‚ the ‘small sadness … neither fruit nor bud’. This poem is a gut-punch, and kept igniting questions. Each time I read it I felt closer to its truth.

Runner-up: PATRICIA HANIFIN (ex student of AUT, lives in Auckland)

Has had work published in Turbine, Flash Frontier, Headland and others. In 2014, she was runner up in National Flash Fiction Day (NZ) competition. She’s recently completed a novel, Ghost Travellers.

Morton described her poem On being silent too long as, visceral and urgent, thick with the fluids and salts that flesh entails. It is a poem of the untouched and unspoken, of the once ineffable backlog of words that come flooding out with a sort of violent energy. There are old tropes re-fangled and sutured together to create something vital and fabulist – there are wolves at the door, salt in the wounds, a crown of thorns. This poem commands attention and wears its fierceness like a medallion.

Elizabeth Morton said she was “gobsmacked by the attention and craft of the sixty poems in the menagerie. There were critters of all types – long, squat, form-driven and free-range. There were beasts of poems, poems that slunk and yowled, poems that tipitoed, and many poems that pounced in the last couple of lines, leaving me whiplashed, winded, awestruck. I found lines that could be printed on t-shirts. I found time-travel – both back and forward – nostalgic reminiscence, to climate change and apocalypse. There were poems that spoke to their creators – poems that had seen terrible things, poems that asserted a finger in the face of dissension and adversity, poems that coexisted with pain. There were poems I wanted to talk to over a cup of tea. There were poems I wanted to hug. There were so many poems that were vulnerable, took risks, ached at my heart – and yet many of these were left without placings, without chairs to sit. There are so many good poems standing awkwardly by the door because I just couldn’t keep adding commendations.”

Highly Commended

Lincoln Jaques – Undertaking a Master of Creative Writing Student, AUT
Sarah Scott – from Wellington is studying for her Masters in Art History at the University of Auckland


Savannah Mouat – Studying English and Psychology at Massey University’s Albany Campus.

Daniel Nissen-Ellison – Studying Art and English at the University of Auckland.

Lydia Chai – is studying law at the University of Auckland


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